My conservation career began as a WWT volunteer back in 1992. After brief stints working in wetlands in New Zealand and Venezuela, I completed a PhD at Glasgow University, investigating the ecophysiology of seabird digestion, and a postdoc on the thermodynamics of incubation. I then worked for 10 years in the International Research Team at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, where I managed a range of projects designed to diagnose the pressures on threatened species, and developed a major focus on islands, invasive species and island restoration; during 2005-7 I was seconded to the Portuguese Society for the Protection of Birds (SPEA).
I joined WWT in 2009, establishing a Species Research Unit, which has evolved into the Conservation Science Department (currently 12 staff and six PhD students).
I oversee the work of WWT’s Conservation Science department and am part of the Senior Management Team of the organisation. The team provides conservation evidence to support the wetland conservation work of WWT, and my role is to set the strategic direction for research at WWT and support the team in delivering it. Our background lies largely in the science of threatened species recovery, but we are increasingly involved in investigating how multifunctional wetlands can provide benefits to society, such as flood attenuation, water treatment and human health and wellbeing. We are also increasingly using social science to better understand conservation conflict and resolution.
I am a conservation biologist; my primary interest in using any and all scientific techniques to provide the evidence needed to underpin the conservation of wetland nature. I have a depth of experience in designing conservation science programmes so that they are robust and relevant, using appropriate techniques. When possible I continue to use my specialist skills in statistical modelling, stable isotope ecology and population modelling, and my experience in species recovery science, and invasive species biology.
Harrison, A.L., Petkov, N., Mitev, D., Popgeorgiev, G., Gove, B. & Hilton, G.M. (2018) Scale-dependent habitat selection by wintering geese: implications for landscape management. Biodiversity and Conservation, 27, 167–188.
Wood, K.A., Stillman, R.A. & Hilton, G.M. (2018). Conservation in a changing world needs predictive models. Animal Conservation, 21, 87-88.
Wood, K.A., Nuijten, R.J., Newth, J.L., Haitjema, T., Vangeluwe, D., Ioannidis, P., Harrison, A.L., Mackenzie, C., Hilton, G.M., Nolet, B.A. & Rees, E. C. (2018). Apparent survival of an Arctic‐breeding migratory bird over 44 years of fluctuating population size. Ibis, 160, 413-430.
Bamford, A.J., Razafindrajao, F., Young, R.P. & Hilton, G.M. (2017) Profound and pervasive degradation of Madagascar’s freshwater wetlands and links with biodiversity. PLoS ONE, 12, 1–15.
Wood, K.A., Newth, J.L., Hilton, G.M., Nolet, B.A. & Rees, E.C. (2016). Inter-annual variability and long-term trends in breeding success in a declining population of migratory swans. Journal of Avian Biology, 47, 597-609.
Roberts, B.E.I., Harris, W.E., Hilton, G.M. & Marsden, S.J. (2016) Source Taxonomic and Geographic Bias in Conservation Biology Research: A Systematic Review of Wildfowl Demography Studies. PLoS ONE, 11, e0153908.
Soriano-Redondo, A., Bearhop, S., Cleasby, I.R., Lock, L., Votier, S.C. & Hilton, G.M. (2016) Ecological responses to extreme flooding events: a case study with a reintroduced bird. Scientific Reports, 6, 28595.
Soriano-Redondo, A., Bearhop, S., Lock, L., Votier, S.C. & Hilton, G.M. (2016) Internet-based monitoring of public perception of conservation. Biological Conservation, 206, 304–309.
Weegman, M.D., Bearhop, S., Fox, A.D., Hilton, G.M., Walsh, A.J., McDonald, J.L. & Hodgson, D.J. (2016) Integrated population modelling reveals a perceived source to be a cryptic sink. Journal of Animal Ecology, 85, 467–475.